Length: 304 pages
First Published: 2022
Rejecting the capitalistic path of others, Brianna Madia always sought to take the road less traveled. So she bought a beat-up orange van named Bertha and set out to travel the deserts of the American West with two dogs and her husband. Madia’s journey – from married to single and from lost to found – is about more than #vanlife or minimalism or dogs; it’s a memoir that explores both the outer world and her inner self.
I absolutely loved Madia’s memoir. Even Madia will admit that she is a highly flawed person, which makes her a fascinating subject for a memoir. I loved how she dived into her own motivations, parsing out why she made the choices she did, which helps connect her story to life at large. Her discussion about gatekeeping in the van life community and the ridiculous rules we force upon ourselves (and others) to truly “belong” to any community was extremely thought-provoking.
If you know Madia’s story, she does frankly talk about the controversy surrounding her dog being hit by a car, though not enough that would satisfy her critics. I had never heard of Madia before this book, so I didn’t feel betrayed by her mistakes. Instead, I was caught up in her unique voice in describing the beauty of the Utah deserts.
In this beautifully written, vividly detailed memoir, a young woman chronicles her adventures traveling across the deserts of the American West in an orange van named Bertha and reflects on an unconventional approach to life.
A woman defined by motion, Brianna Madia bought a beat-up bright orange van, filled it with her two dogs Bucket and Dagwood, and headed into the canyons of Utah with her husband. Nowhere for Very Long is her story of exploration—of the world outside and the spirit within.
Brianna knew her road would be the one less traveled from an early age. Rejecting the competitive and capitalistic path set out before her, she chose to seek a different version of happiness, a road scary, uncertain, and entirely her own. But pursuing a life of intention isn’t always what it seems. In fact, at times it was downright boring, exhausting, and even desperate—when the van overheated and she was forced to pull over on a lonely stretch of South Dakota highway; when the weather was bitterly cold and her water jugs froze beneath her as she slept in the parking lot of her office; when she worried about money, her marriage, and the looming question mark of her future. But she was living a life true to herself, come what may, and that made all the difference.
Nowhere for Very Long is the chronicle of a woman learning and unlearning, from backroads to breakdowns, married to solo, and finally, from lost to found.
About Brianna Madia
Brianna Madia is the author of the memoir Nowhere for Very Long. After traveling the west in a big orange van, she currently lives outside Moab, Utah. Visit the author’s website →